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CALC 2009 : NAACL Workshop on Computational Approaches to Linguistic Creativity


When Jun 4, 2009 - Jun 4, 2009
Where Boulder, Colorado
Submission Deadline Mar 5, 2009
Notification Due Mar 30, 2009
Final Version Due Apr 12, 2009
Categories    NLP   computational creativity   cognitive linguistics   psycholinguistics

Call For Papers

(Workshop date: June 4, 2009)

It is generally agreed upon that "linguistic creativity" is a unique property of human language. Some claim that linguistic creativity is expressed in our ability to combine known words in a new sentence, others refer to our skill to express thoughts in figurative language, and yet others talk about syntactic recursion and lexical creativity.

For the purpose of this workshop, we treat the term "linguistic creativity" to mean "creative language usage at different levels", from the lexicon to syntax to discourse and text (see also topics, below).

The recognition of instances of linguistic creativity and the computation of their meaning constitute one of the most challenging problems for a variety of Natural Language Processing tasks, such as machine translation, text summarization, information retrieval, question answering, and sentiment analysis. Computational systems incorporating models of linguistic creativity operate on different types of data (including written text, audio/speech/sound, and video/images/gestures). New approaches might combine information from different modalities. Creativity-aware systems will improve the contribution Computational Linguistics has to offer to many practical areas, including education, entertainment, and engineering.

Within the scope of the workshop, the event is intended to be interdisciplinary. Besides contributions from an NLP perspective, we also welcome the participation of researchers who deal with linguistic creativity from different perspectives, including psychology, neuroscience, or human-computer interaction.


We are particularly interested in work on the automatic detection, classification, understanding, or generation of:

* neologisms;
* figurative language, including metaphor, metonymy, personification, idioms;
* new or unconventional syntactic constructions ("May I serve who's next?") and constructions defying traditional parsers (e.g. gapping: "Many words were spoken, and sentiments expressed");
* indirect speech acts (such as curses, insults, sarcasm and irony);
* verbally expressed humor;
* poetry and fiction;
* and other phenomena illustrating linguistic creativity.

Depending on the state of the art of approaches to the various phenomena and languages, preference will be given to work on deeper processing (e.g., understanding, goal-driven generation) rather than shallow approaches (e.g., binary classification, random generation). We also welcome descriptions and discussions of:

* computational tools that support people in using language creatively (e.g. tools for computer-assisted creative writing, intelligent thesauri);
* computational and/or cognitive models of linguistic creativity;
* metrics and tools for evaluating the performance of creativity-aware systems;
* specific application scenarios of computational linguistic creativity;
* design and implementation of creativity-aware systems.

Related topics, including corpora collection, elicitation, and annotation of creative language usage, will also be considered, as long as their relevance to automatic systems is clearly pointed out.

Invited Talk

Nick Montfort (MIT): Curveship: A System for Interactive Fiction and Interactive Narrating

Interactive fiction (often called "IF") is a venerable thread of creative
computing that includes Adventure, Zork, and the computer game The
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as well as innovative recent work. These
programs are usually known as "games," appropriately, but they can also be
rich forms of text-based computer simulation, dialog systems, and examples
of computational literary art. Theorists of narrative have long
distinguished between the level of underlying content or story (which can
usefully be seen as corresponding to the simulated world in interactive
fiction) and that of expression or discourse (corresponding to the textual
exchange between computer and user). While IF development systems have
offered a great deal of power and flexibility to author/programmers by
providing a computational model of the fictional world, previous systems
have not systematically distinguished between the telling and what is
told. Developers were not able to control the content and expression
levels independently so that they could, for instance, have a program
relate events out of chronological order or have it relate events from the
perspective of different characters. Curveship is an interactive fiction
system which draws on narrative theory and computational linguistics to
allow the transformation of the narrating in these ways. This talk will
briefly describe interactive fiction and narrative variation and will
detail how Curveship provides these new capabilities.


Submissions should describe original, unpublished work. Papers are limited to 8 pages. Style files must be used; see the Submission section on the workshop web page ('link', above). No author information should be included in the papers, since reviewing will be blind. Papers not conforming to these requirements are subject to rejection without review. Papers should be submitted via the START system; more information is available on the workshop web page.

We encourage submissions from everyone. For those how are new to ACL conferences and workshops, or with special needs, we are planning to set up a lunch mentoring program. Let us know if you are interested. Also, a limited number of student travel grants might become available, intended for individuals with minority background and current residents of countries where conference travel funding is usually hard to find.


* Anna Feldman, Montclair State University (
* Birte Loenneker-Rodman, University of Hamburg, Germany (

Program Committee

* Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology;
* Roberto Basili, University of Roma, Italy;
* Amilcar Cardoso, University of Coimbra, Portugal;
* Afsaneh Fazly, University of Toronto, Canada;
* Eileen Fitzpatrick, Montclair State University;
* Pablo Gervas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain;
* Sam Glucksberg, Princeton University;
* Jerry Hobbs, ISI, Marina del Rey;
* Sid Horton, Northwestern University;
* Diana Inkpen, University of Ottawa, Canada;
* Mark Lee, Birmingham, UK;
* Hugo Liu, MIT;
* Xiaofei Lu, Penn State;
* Ruli Manurung, University of Indonesia;
* Katja Markert, University of Leeds, UK;
* Rada Mihalcea, University of North Texas;
* Anton Nijholt, University of Twente, The Netherlands;
* Andrew Ortony, Northwestern University;
* Vasile Rus, The University of Memphis;
* Richard Sproat, Oregon Health and Science University;
* Gerard Steen, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
* Carlo Strapparava, Istituto per la Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica, Trento, Italy;
* Juergen Trouvain, Saarland University, Germany.

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